Born Again to Love
Bible Reading: 1 Peter 1:22-2:3
If you’re a believer in Christ you’ve been born again to love like Jesus. The Word of God has made a wonderful change in you. You heard “the good news which was preached to you” (1 Peter 1:25). And through the “living and abiding word of God” you were born again (1 Peter 1:23). It is as Matthew Henry has commented, “The word of God is the great means of regeneration. The grace of regeneration is conveyed by the gospel. This new and second birth is much more desirable and excellent than the first. This the apostle teaches by preferring the incorruptible to the corruptible seed. By the one we become the children of men, by the other the sons and daughters of the Most High.”
In obedience to the truth your soul has been purified for a “sincere brotherly love (1 Peter 1:22). Previously, in sin, your life was characterized by such things as “malice…deceit and hypocrisy and envy and…slander” (1 Peter 2:1). But in your obedient response to the truth you experienced an internal, supernatural cleansing, such that your heart was purified and radically changed. You were born again to walk in “newness of life” (Romans 6:4). And an integral aspect of your new life in Christ is a newfound desire and ability to love like Jesus.
Our love for one another is to be characterized by two traits. It is to be sincere, meaning genuine, authentic, and without pretense. And we are to “love one another earnestly” (1 Peter 1:22). The term translated earnestly was an athletic term conveying the idea of striving with all of one’s effort and was used to describe a runner straining and stretching to the limit. Used here the thought is we should be stretching ourselves to the limit in our determination to love others selflessly and sacrificially.
The ability of the Word of God to work its transformative power is reinforced to us again in 1 Peter 2:1-2. As we put away the sins that characterized our old manner of life, we are to “long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation” (1 Peter 2:2). As newborn babies long for mama’s milk, we long for the pure milk of the Word. Babies need milk to grow, we need the pure milk of the Word to grow up in Christ. The Word is powerful to save and to transform (1 Thessalonians 2:13). As the Word of God richly abides in us, it works to change us from the inside-out, and leads us to learn to love like Jesus (Colossians 3:16).
In 1789, a group of mutineers put their officers on a longboat, took control of the H.M.S. Bounty, and sailed to Tahiti to enjoy a comfortable life. Fearing punishment, some of them, along with several Polynesians, later moved to uninhabited Pitcairn Island and burned the ship so there would be no evidence. Despite the South Pacific paradise-like setting, sexual immorality, jealousy, anger, alcohol, and disease took their toll, until there was only one Englishman, ten women and many children left. The remaining Englishman, Alexander Smith, discovered a Bible in the ship’s goods and thankfully, the next-to-last man had taught him to read before he died. Smith studied the Word, decided it held the answer to the community’s problems and initiated Sunday worship and daily prayer times for the remaining people. In 1808, an American ship happened upon the island and was surprised to discover a thriving group of 35 English speaking Christians. Indeed, the Word of God is powerful to save and transform lives! And grow us up in Jesus that we might love like Him.
The Word of God is Powerful to Save and Transform Lives
Heavenly Father. How thankful we are for Your living and abiding Word! In these difficult times, how good it is to be protected by your unchanging truth from the changing whims of culture and deceitful schemes of the evil one. Through Your Word you’ve caused us to be born again. Praise You for making that miraculous change in us. You’ve called us to a sincere and fervent love for our brothers and sisters. Forgive us for falling short of your design far too often. You’ve already shown us how the Word can work to make such a dramatic change in us, may we now long for the Word even as a newborn babe, that we might grow up into salvation. That we might love like Jesus. That You might be honored in our lives. In Jesus’ name, Amen.